LTH Home

Nicole's Divine Crackers

Nicole's Divine Crackers
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 2
  • Nicole's Divine Crackers

    Post #1 - June 5th, 2010, 3:28 am
    Post #1 - June 5th, 2010, 3:28 am Post #1 - June 5th, 2010, 3:28 am
    So, Kanin posted in the Franks N Dawgs thread that Nicole's is the bakery that supplies FND with their buns (which, in my honest opinion, is the best part about the place).

    So, i ordered two dozen (about $13) of the sausage/hot dog rolls and they made 'em fresh for me with a days notice....were a HUGE hit at our BBQ this past weekend. I would have pictures if I didn't fail so much in the financial sector of life...camera will be in the budget some day....pork shoulders take precedence.

    Just givin you guys a heads up...i work right near there so I'm gonna be in there picking them up all the time from now on, but i'll echo the fact that they are absolute must-have at any and all the BBQs you guys are throwing this summer.

    - Dave

    Nicole's Divine Crackers
    1505 Kingsbury St
    Chicago, IL 60622
    (312) 640-8883
  • Post #2 - June 5th, 2010, 5:46 am
    Post #2 - June 5th, 2010, 5:46 am Post #2 - June 5th, 2010, 5:46 am
    They also make great snacking crackers, although I'm admittedly a cracker head (pardon the silly pun). The flavor names are a little cutesy, but delicious. I've seen them at Irv & Shelly's, True Nature Foods, and Whole Foods.
  • Post #3 - June 20th, 2010, 9:04 am
    Post #3 - June 20th, 2010, 9:04 am Post #3 - June 20th, 2010, 9:04 am
    djenks wrote:i'll echo the fact that they are absolute must-have at any and all the BBQs you guys are throwing this summer.
    A friend made a run to Ream's Elburn Market and picked me up a few types of sausage a perfect opportunity to visit Nicole's for her crazy good New England lobster roll style hot dog buns.

    Image

    In theory Nicole's is easy to find, just south of North across from Whole Foods, a few doors south of VIP's, the fact its recessed from the street with its own parking lot threw me for a loop. A little embarrassing when the young lady answering the phone said I was right in front of the place.

    Image

    Nicole's has a split personality, cozy tea room feel in the front, commercial bakery in the back.

    Image

    Image

    I wasted no time putting Nicole's buns to good use, simmered Ream's German wiener with onion/jalapeno/mustard for lunch, grilled Ream's Hungarian and Longaniza for dinner.

    Image

    Image

    While Nicole's is justifiably famous for her crackers its her hot dog buns that have captured my interest and imagination.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Nicole's Divine Crackers
    1505 N. Kingsbury St.
    Chicago, IL 60622
    312-640-8883
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #4 - June 20th, 2010, 1:06 pm
    Post #4 - June 20th, 2010, 1:06 pm Post #4 - June 20th, 2010, 1:06 pm
    I wasted no time putting Nicole's buns to good use ... simmered Ream's German wiener


    :shock:
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #5 - June 20th, 2010, 1:20 pm
    Post #5 - June 20th, 2010, 1:20 pm Post #5 - June 20th, 2010, 1:20 pm
    gleam wrote:
    I wasted no time putting Nicole's buns to good use ... simmered Ream's German wiener


    :shock:

    You beat me to the punch. 8)
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #6 - June 20th, 2010, 1:50 pm
    Post #6 - June 20th, 2010, 1:50 pm Post #6 - June 20th, 2010, 1:50 pm
    lemoneater wrote:They also make great snacking crackers, although I'm admittedly a cracker head (pardon the silly pun). The flavor names are a little cutesy, but delicious. I've seen them at Irv & Shelly's, True Nature Foods, and Whole Foods.


    Agreed. I like Nicole's GF cranberry-pepper crackers--only problem is that I can easily go through a box in one sitting. I had never paid much attention to the other varieties before, but I was making a care package for a friend the other day and decided to include some Nicole's Crackers. Given the brand name, which strikes me as rather wholesome, I was surprised by how risqué some of the flavor names are.
  • Post #7 - June 22nd, 2010, 9:11 am
    Post #7 - June 22nd, 2010, 9:11 am Post #7 - June 22nd, 2010, 9:11 am
    Didn't know about Nicole's buns. Love the crackers, though they are a bit pricey given how easy it is to eat mass quantities.

    (I've never really understood why it is that crackers in general, including mainstream commercial varieties are, relative to ingredients, insanely expensive. I mean, if a decent loaf of fresh bread (say 18-24 oz.) is about $3-$4, then why is 4 oz. of Melba Toast or Carr's about the same? Have never understood that.)
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #8 - June 22nd, 2010, 11:28 am
    Post #8 - June 22nd, 2010, 11:28 am Post #8 - June 22nd, 2010, 11:28 am
    mrbarolo wrote:Didn't know about Nicole's buns. Love the crackers, though they are a bit pricey given how easy it is to eat mass quantities.

    (I've never really understood why it is that crackers in general, including mainstream commercial varieties are, relative to ingredients, insanely expensive. I mean, if a decent loaf of fresh bread (say 18-24 oz.) is about $3-$4, then why is 4 oz. of Melba Toast or Carr's about the same? Have never understood that.)


    My wife started making crackers at home a couple of years ago. We also noticed that crackers seem kind of expensive and tend to have a lot of preservatives in them; we wanted to make them at home. My wife has a basic recipe that she can easily modify to incorporate different ingredients (rosemary, celery seed, etc.). I believe it is this recipes:

    http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/08/crisp ... flatbread/

    After she rolls out the dough, she uses a ravioli cutter to cut the dough to form nicely shaped crackers.
  • Post #9 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:12 pm
    Post #9 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:12 pm Post #9 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:12 pm
    mrbarolo wrote:Didn't know about Nicole's buns. Love the crackers, though they are a bit pricey given how easy it is to eat mass quantities.

    (I've never really understood why it is that crackers in general, including mainstream commercial varieties are, relative to ingredients, insanely expensive. I mean, if a decent loaf of fresh bread (say 18-24 oz.) is about $3-$4, then why is 4 oz. of Melba Toast or Carr's about the same? Have never understood that.)


    Simple answer: because they can. I wonder how the cost per serving compares?
  • Post #10 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:24 pm
    Post #10 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:24 pm Post #10 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:24 pm
    jblth wrote:Simple answer: because they can.


    That's not really an answer. It just raises the question: why are people willing to pay so much for crackers? (Because they are...). Baking good bread takes a lot more work than baking crackers. So I'd be willing to pay a lot more for good bread than good crackers, because the latter can be made more easily at home.

    One thing to note is that bread has a lot more moisture in it than crackers. i.e. more water. That makes directly comparing their weight a little misleading.
  • Post #11 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:28 pm
    Post #11 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:28 pm Post #11 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:28 pm
    I'm guessing it's cultural. There are many bread-baking books, but not many on cracker-making. So the average (or slightly advanced) home cook, who might make bread, doesn't think to make crackers.

    I agree crackers are easy to make, especially with a stiff dough and a pasta machine.
  • Post #12 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:37 pm
    Post #12 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:37 pm Post #12 - June 22nd, 2010, 12:37 pm
    nr706 wrote:I agree crackers are easy to make, especially with a stiff dough and a pasta machine.


    Both are key. I made whole wheat crackers for a dinner party last year, and had a stiff dough but couldn't get it thin enough using a rolling pin. They were way too . . . shall I say . . . wholesome? Reminded me of something Pa Ingalls would eat on hunting treks during the cold Minnesota winters . . .
  • Post #13 - June 22nd, 2010, 8:38 pm
    Post #13 - June 22nd, 2010, 8:38 pm Post #13 - June 22nd, 2010, 8:38 pm
    Darren72 wrote:
    jblth wrote:Simple answer: because they can.


    That's not really an answer. It just raises the question: why are people willing to pay so much for crackers? (Because they are...). Baking good bread takes a lot more work than baking crackers. So I'd be willing to pay a lot more for good bread than good crackers, because the latter can be made more easily at home.

    One thing to note is that bread has a lot more moisture in it than crackers. i.e. more water. That makes directly comparing their weight a little misleading.


    Right or wrong, I think there a couple cultural reasons. Bread has always been considered a staple food. Bread is a means of survival. People need it. Crackers are a luxury, a snack.

    The fact that they are so similar doesn't seem to register.
  • Post #14 - July 5th, 2010, 8:42 pm
    Post #14 - July 5th, 2010, 8:42 pm Post #14 - July 5th, 2010, 8:42 pm
    I ordered some of their brioche hamburger buns for the weekend, and they were outstanding . . . best hamburger bun I have ever tasted. The brioche bun was on the lighter side with respect to the butter ratio, which I thought was just right for a hamburger bun. It really held together well and was wonderful when lightly toasted.
  • Post #15 - July 5th, 2010, 11:39 pm
    Post #15 - July 5th, 2010, 11:39 pm Post #15 - July 5th, 2010, 11:39 pm
    Hi,

    I was talking to a friend about Nicole's Divine Crackers. He indicated he's had a long acquaintance with Nicole, whom he claims is in her 80's. Long ago he took baking classes from her.

    Is Nicole (if there is one) this old or is it possible he's mixing people up?

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - July 6th, 2010, 12:17 am
    Post #16 - July 6th, 2010, 12:17 am Post #16 - July 6th, 2010, 12:17 am
    80s sounds right. she's no spring chicken.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #17 - July 6th, 2010, 12:18 am
    Post #17 - July 6th, 2010, 12:18 am Post #17 - July 6th, 2010, 12:18 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Is Nicole (if there is one) this old or is it possible he's mixing people up?
    Though I have not had the pleasure of meeting her its my understanding Nicole is in her mid 80's.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - July 6th, 2010, 6:37 am
    Post #18 - July 6th, 2010, 6:37 am Post #18 - July 6th, 2010, 6:37 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote:Is Nicole (if there is one) this old or is it possible he's mixing people up?
    Though I have not had the pleasure of meeting her its my understanding Nicole is in her mid 80's.

    I spoke to Nicole on the phone when I placed my order, and she's charming with a great sense of humor. But I didn't meet her when I went to pick up my burger and sausage buns. Her picture is on the back of the cracker boxes, however, and if she's in her 80s (which I don't doubt but have no idea), she looks very good for her age.
  • Post #19 - July 6th, 2010, 7:32 am
    Post #19 - July 6th, 2010, 7:32 am Post #19 - July 6th, 2010, 7:32 am
    Hi,

    Thanks for the information.

    In my mind's eye, I assumed it was someone in their 30's or 40's with some years experience who were breaking out on their own. I was surprised by the 80's comment, which you have all affirmed. I'm glad for Nicole her age is just a number.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #20 - July 6th, 2010, 7:45 am
    Post #20 - July 6th, 2010, 7:45 am Post #20 - July 6th, 2010, 7:45 am
    I was introduced to Nicole a few years ago by a friend who worked for her at that time. She was born in France in the 1920's.

    When I met Nicole, she seemed a wonderful combination of sweet and feisty. A take-no-B.S type of person who could just as quickly give you a big hug as she could tell you to F-off. She seemed very particular about certain things, especially the importance of people considering her crackers "art". There are quite a few similarities between Nicole and a certain much younger female baker who has a shop in Andersonville.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #21 - July 6th, 2010, 8:16 am
    Post #21 - July 6th, 2010, 8:16 am Post #21 - July 6th, 2010, 8:16 am
    Kennyz wrote: There are quite a few similarities between Nicole and a certain much younger female baker who has a shop in Andersonville.
    I'm going to make a point of meeting Nicole!
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #22 - July 6th, 2010, 8:18 am
    Post #22 - July 6th, 2010, 8:18 am Post #22 - July 6th, 2010, 8:18 am
    I met her a few years ago at the Fancy Food Show ... a delightful woman, she said to stop by her bakery any time ... which I have yet to do.
  • Post #23 - July 6th, 2010, 10:03 am
    Post #23 - July 6th, 2010, 10:03 am Post #23 - July 6th, 2010, 10:03 am
    I had the pleasure of meeting Nicole at a small dinner party a couple of years ago. She is indeed one of our colorful elder treasures. She was full of opinions, and wonderful stories, and a joy to listen to and spend an evening with.

    And her crackers are indeed divine.
    Here's an interesting article on Nicole: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/articles ... prime.html
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #24 - June 17th, 2012, 9:14 am
    Post #24 - June 17th, 2012, 9:14 am Post #24 - June 17th, 2012, 9:14 am
    Made a trip, actually more like a lost soul trying to find something..
    MY GPS led me way south and said to get off on Ohio which was just as well because yesterday at 10:30am there was no way I could get from the Express Lanes to North Avenue. Kingsbury is only one way south from North as the whole street is torn up. After 3 phone calls to Nicole's I finally parked and walked and walked right by it as it is set in from the street a good ways.
    So if you don'tknow exactly where Nicole'sis, you are in for a treat!
    Anyway 12 hot dog buns $11.40, Wheat bread, Brioche loaf, crackers and I was gone back to Wisconsin.
    Picked up nice lively soft shells at Fresh Farms for $3per. Only found 4 good ones out of a flat.
    After a number od disastrous experiences with soft shells, I only purchase ones that move and have no odor at all. These were simply pristine. Fried in corn flour they filled Nicole's hot dog buns and the combination was excellent.
    Wheat bread was very good and French Toast with the Brioche this morning.
    Traffic is actualy much hevaier on Saturday morning than on a weekday in that area.
    When I got to Nicole's and checked my GPS, then it found the correct location from the address. Why it took me so far south initially, I can't figure out?-Dick
  • Post #25 - June 17th, 2012, 11:56 am
    Post #25 - June 17th, 2012, 11:56 am Post #25 - June 17th, 2012, 11:56 am
    I really enjoy these crackers but find that they occasionally have a rancid odor, even when they're not past the 'best used by' date. Last year I actually spoke to Nicole about the issue (on the phone). Frankly, she was pretty defensive about it and insisted that I return the product to her in order for her to properly investigate what happened. I felt she should have offered to take care of that aspect instead of putting it on me. It was odd being asked to go out of my way to help her achieve a resolution. When one of my customers has a problem with the quality a product we ship to them, we pay the cost of the return. I wasn't seeking a refund or replacement. I simply wanted her to know what was going on with her product -- and resolve it -- so that I could confidently buy them again. Was it a packaging issue? Was it the way the retailer was handling them? Something else?

    I sent the crackers back at my expense. She later admitted to me that something was wrong but at that time, she had no idea what it was. She seemed less concerned with getting to the bottom of it than she did when I initially contacted her about the matter. In any case, she very kindly sent me 3 new packages but the episode did leave me feeling a little less warm and fuzzy about Nicole's Crackers.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #26 - June 17th, 2012, 12:34 pm
    Post #26 - June 17th, 2012, 12:34 pm Post #26 - June 17th, 2012, 12:34 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:but the episode did leave me feeling a little less warm and fuzzy about Nicole's Crackers.
    I've found Nicole less than enthused about selling her hot dog buns, which are terrific, on the retail level.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #27 - June 17th, 2012, 7:32 pm
    Post #27 - June 17th, 2012, 7:32 pm Post #27 - June 17th, 2012, 7:32 pm
    Kennyz wrote:I was introduced to Nicole a few years ago by a friend who worked for her at that time. She was born in France in the 1920's.

    Nicole Bergere is my mother-in-law's first cousin. She's 87. My MIL, who's a few years younger, isn't sure if her cousin, originally Carol Schaefer, was born in upstate New York, where the family once lived, or Kenosha, where she grew up, but she was unquestionably born in the United States. Her father emigrated from Heidelberg. Nicole has reinvented herself several times.
  • Post #28 - June 17th, 2012, 9:58 pm
    Post #28 - June 17th, 2012, 9:58 pm Post #28 - June 17th, 2012, 9:58 pm
    Dick,

    My gps has lost me *twice* in that area! I wonder if there's a Chain o' Lakes Triangle there or sumpthin?!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #29 - June 18th, 2012, 8:44 am
    Post #29 - June 18th, 2012, 8:44 am Post #29 - June 18th, 2012, 8:44 am
    It's got to be the confluence of tall buildings. I watched my GPS display litterally swirl around as I moved trying to find North.

    Haven't tried the crackers yet.-Dick
  • Post #30 - December 4th, 2013, 11:10 pm
    Post #30 - December 4th, 2013, 11:10 pm Post #30 - December 4th, 2013, 11:10 pm
    Very bad news about Nicole's
    Date: December 4, 2013 at 11:01:20 AM CST
    Subject: Closing after 30 yrs
    My Darling Chef and Dear Staff,
    After nearly 30 years in the baking business, life has taken us into a different direction once more. The wind has blown us into another path and sadly, we cannot take all of our bags with us.
    With lumps in our throats, we write this letter to you. After all these years, we have been forced by a higher power to close our doors. Production will end December 7th. Our hearts are heavy with having to notify you with such short notice, especially during the holiday rush.
    After nearly a year in litigation, our building was unexpectedly sold and we were left with a steep financial burden. Despite our many efforts and determination, our prayers have yet to be answered.
    Your loyalty after all these years has nestled deep in our hearts. We thank you for enjoying our wonderful bread and Divine Crackers.
    While retirement came a bit too early for Nikki and Gracie, rest assured that this won’t be the last of the Ladies that you will see.
    Mil gracias for being a part of our incredible journey,

    Nicole and Gracie
    "Bass Trombone is the Lead Trumpet of the Deep."
    Rick Hammett

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more